How To Lookup Hawaii License Plates
You can find lookup details like a vehicle's make, model, and year easily using a search tool. However, to look up a Hawaii license plate and get the full report, including driver details, you must contact The Hawaii Department of Transportation. You must fill out the form and bring it to the District Court to get a copy.
Hawaii also has an online portal where you can look up a vehicle to obtain information, but you will need both the license plate number and VIN. All searches are subject to state and federal DPPA laws. Any violation of how personal information is used may be subject to fines and jail time.
Hawaii Vehicle Regulations
Hawaii license plate regulations and vehicle registration laws vary depending on which island you reside in. For example, people who live in Honolulu can visit a Safeway to renew their vehicle registration using one of the Hawaii DMV Now Kiosks. You can also renew your vehicle registration online and through the mail.
New vehicles will be registered and licensed for you by the dealer. If not, you can apply to the city using a special form, but you must have it signed by the dealership. At the time of registration, you must produce an inspection sticker.
Vehicles must be renewed annually in Hawaii, regardless of which island you reside on. If you do not renew on time, you must pay a $40 fee. Registration renewals are not considered late until the next business day following the end of the month in which it is due.
Military personnel may be exempt from licensing and fees for one vehicle per family.
Hawaii Specialty License Plates
Hawaii has standard license plates for most residents. However, there are specialty plates that honor the wildlife and natural beauty of Hawaii by sponsoring one of the national parks. These must be special ordered through any of the Hawaii DMV offices. Additional fees apply when purchasing a special plate with a nature scene.
The standard Hawaii plate is a white background with rainbow and black lettering. It is quite plain, but you do have other options, such as the wildlife national park plates.
Residents may also purchase vanity plates (called personalized plates) for an additional $25. Personalized plates allow the resident to choose the message (letters/numbers) on the plate. They must be approved by the state and usually take longer to create.
What Does the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) in Hawaii Say?
Hawaii honors the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725 (DPPA), but they also believe strongly in transparency and the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPS). To that end, they vow to protect and respect the privacy of individuals and records collected and kept by the Department of Transportation on vehicles and vehicle owners.
On their Request for Driver History Report form, they only allow individuals to request one for themselves or with a notarized consent form attached. To prove they have the right to request the information, they must supply some personal details about the person before the search is conducted. The disclaimer reads: "This request authorizes the Traffic Violations Bureaus of the District Courts to perform a one-time search of the driver's license information and history of convictions, accidents, and withdrawals pertaining to the driver identified in this part, provided that the driver signs the consent below. The search is limited to information that is maintained by the Examiner of Drivers, including licensing actions received from other states".
Hawaii License Plate Search Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Legal to Search for License Plate Numbers in Hawaii?
It is legal to lookup license plate numbers in Hawaii. In fact, they have a portal online where you can look up any license plate, but you must also have the VIN. Hawaii is committed to transparency, however, how someone uses that information is still subject to all state and federal DPPA laws and violations of the information found through a lookup could mean jail time and hefty fines.
What Information Do I Need to Search for a Hawaii License Plate Number?
When requesting a Hawaii license plate lookup, you need the plate number and VIN if you use the online system. If you request a copy by mail, you will need your name, address, phone number, and then the driver's license number, social security number, date of birth, full name, and phone number. You must also have a consent form from them, allowing you to access the information.
How to Look Up a Hawaii License Plate Using the VIN?
Hawaii makes it pretty easy to look up a vehicle using the VIN. They have an online portal where you enter the VIN and plate number and can see details regarding the vehicle and owner. However, be careful about how you use this information; it is strictly governed by DPPA laws.
How Can I Locate the Owner of a License Plate in Hawaii?
If you have a small accident and don't know how to locate the driver of a vehicle in Hawaii, it's best to contact the local police and let them locate the driver so you can make amends. If you use an online lookup tool or request paper records, you will be subject to the DPPA laws, and if you violate them in any way, you may face criminal charges, fines, and even prison.
What Kind of Things Can I do With License Plate Information?
Hawaii does not specify its own legal use of license plate information. They do freely allow someone the option of obtaining their own driving record with complete personal details. However, they follow the federal standard, which allows only the following uses of license plate lookups:
- Government and law enforcement purposes
- Motor vehicle safety concerns (emissions, recalls, other manufacturer-related reasons)
- Business use to verify the accuracy of details
- Marketing and research
- Court-related and other legal matters
- Insurance company purposes
- Towing companies
- CDL licensing authorities
- Private investigators
- Toll transportation facilities
- Anyone with a signed consent form from the vehicle owner
How to Lookup Hawaii License Plates for Free?
You can look up Hawaii license plates for free online pretty easily using various search tools. However, you won't see a lot of information, just the make, model, and year of the vehicle, plus some mechanical details like braking and transmission systems, engine type, and the manufacturer.